Cincinnati Metro Rides Free On Election Day

Oct 26, 2020

People will be able to ride Cincinnati Metro buses for free on Election Day next week, Nov. 3. 

Cincinnati leaders and Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) representatives made the announcement Monday.

The goal is to make sure a lack of transportation does not prevent people from reaching their polling locations and casting their votes.

Cam Hardy with the Better Bus Coalition said the idea came from bus riders.

"This is something I have been pushing for since 2016," Hardy posted on Facebook. "Grassroots activism works. I appreciate the support from City Hall as well the sponsors that are footing the cost so that this move won't impact Metro's budget. I've spoken with many bus riders who now won't have to pay double fare while trying to vote and continue to live their lives day to day."

SORTA estimates the free rides on Nov. 3 will cost it about $24,000 in lost fare revenue.

The city is providing $12,500 of that amount. The rest is coming from a donation from the Devou Good Foundation, a non-profit organization in Northern Kentucky.

Resident Derek Bauman helped secure that donation.

"To be able to support our community and support folks, the 20-plus percent of households that don't have cars here in the city of Cincinnati, to help facilitate folks getting to the polls this November 3," Bauman said.

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld worked on the plan and asked that an ordinance be drafted to provide the city funding.

"I think many people - rightly, understandably - feel this is the most important election in our lifetime," Sittenfeld said. "And maximizing participation in the democratic process, that is a worthy, noble, righteous aim. And to allow more people to do that, to have that connectivity, to have that access."

Sittenfeld said the Metro system will function as normal on Election Day. The only difference is people won't have to pay to ride the buses. Even people who don't need a ride to the polls, including regular bus riders, won't have to pay.